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Electoral manipulation and the influence of polling on politicians : a study of political organization in the Liberal Party of Canada up to the 1984 election campaign

McGill University
Publication Date
  • Liberal Party Of Canada
  • Canada -- Politics And Government
  • Politicians -- Public Opinion.
  • Political Science


This study examines the influence of polls and pollsters on politicians. The analysis reviews the American literature, which suggests that electoral technology is used by private political consultants to assist the politician in manipulating the voter. Six hypotheses are identified from the electoral manipulation literature, focusing specifically on the influence of political consultants on politicians. These hypotheses are tested with an historical analysis of the use of polls in the political organization of the Liberal Party of Canada from 1943 to 1984. Secondly, in-depth interviews were conducted with prominent Liberals, and are reviewed to further test the hypotheses as they relate to the influence of polling on politicians. The study concludes by examining the rise of electoral technocracy in the party, and by assessing the pollsters' influence on political decision-making.

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